10 Ideas for Challenge Walls
Tarsia: A puzzle that you can tailor for whatever you need it; suitable for pretty much every subject. This is what it looks like, and here’s a link to a Tarsia maker.
Flippity: This super handy Google tool will make your life a lot easier, and can help you make all sorts of good-looking puzzles and things that you can also print out. Some of them are made for work on a device, i.e. a computer, or an iPad, but many can be used without a device. Here’s the link:
Song Translation (MFL): Have a few songs that they love on your challenge wall, and have them translate one, if they finished early with the help of a dictionary.
Photo Story: Put a few thought-provoking pictures up on your wall that your students can grab, if they finish early, and use as an inspiration to write a short story. They are allowed to use a dictionary.
You should specify what you want them to do, and you can differentiate. Maybe give them a number of adjectives that they’ll have to use in their story, give them milestone word counts, etc.
10 Adjectives to describe an Elephant: This can be anything that you can come up with, and that they already learned words for. 10 adjectives to describe an elephant, 10 nouns that start with ‘n’, 10 words that rhyme, 10 things in the classroom, 10 infinitives that start with ‘s’, 10 things I like, 10 things I don’t like, 10 things and their opposites … definitely lends itself for differentiation.
Find the Question to the Answer: put a series of statements on a sheet of paper that the student has to find questions for. This is a great exercise to revise questions, and therefore also great prep for exams.
Short Stories with Questions: Have a look for short stories with questions in the target language online, print them (double-sided, please 😉 ), and differentiate according to difficulty. You can colour-code, according to difficulty. Here’s a link for a German resource.
Funny sentence Translation / Jokes /Proverbs: Come up with 10 sentences, or jokes, or proverbs, or tongue twisters in the target language that they have to translate with the help of a dictionary. Again, scaffolding is easy to do: Start with an easier one, and make it harder as you progress. You can also start in the target language (so they have to translate into English), and then give them English phrases that they have to put into the target language.
City-Country-River: You probably know this game. If not, here’s the explanation: Usually a group of people get a sheet of paper, each. There’s a column for each topic, and the topics could be anything like city, country, river, song, band, film, plant, animal, colour, object, food, drink,…you get the gist. On the challenge wall, you can have a version of this game, put the instructions on the sheet, and give the letters you want them to use. Everything they find, has to somehow be related to the target language. If you get a group of high-achieving students together who finish early, they can play together.
5 Minute Expert: Have a few texts with lovely images and laminate them, so you can use them for different yer groups (for differentiation purposes, you can also have a few info-graphics, Canva.com is good for designing these) that can make your students ‘experts’ in five minutes. The topic can be anything specific to your subject. For MFL, it could be a culture-related thing, for biology, it could be a keyword to be explained, for art, it could be an artist, etc. After five minutes (time it), the expert presents their findings to the rest of the class. Make this a voluntary task, but advertise it as an option on the challenge wall, and make it special! If they present well, they get a merit, or a prize.